Rental housing proposed for Kelowna’s BC Tree Fruit site

Rental housing proposed for Kelowna’s BC Tree Fruit site

Proposal will add 148 new rental units on old packinghouse site

A developer is looking to build rental housing units on a portion a portion of the vacant former BC Tree Fruit Packinghouse site.

Property owner PC Urban will present a development plan to Kelowna City Council Monday, that entails two mixed-use buildings with 148 rental residential units on the southwest corner of the site, at the corner of Richter and Clement.

While the planning department is supportive of the proposal overall, the report to council by city planner specialist Adam Cseke outlined some concerns.

One is the conflict of adding residential land use north of Clement Avenue with the designated industrial area, and how that residential designation will integrate with yet unspecified plans for the rest of the site.

The packinghouse site was originally proposed back in 2016 as being divided into three lots—one to accommodate a large brewery facility by Starkhund Brewery, the middle lot a commercial market and the westernmost parcel for commercial office and residential.

Related: New development proposed in Kelowna

Plans to proceed on that plan have failed, with the brewery concept replaced with an attempt to market a strata light industrial project component.

“The concern of adding residential land uses north of Clement Avenue within the designated industrial area is the potential for other property owners to speculate that they could achieve residential units too,” stated the report.

“This could increase adjacent industrial land prices leading to more unaffordable industrial land and provide uncertainty of existing and future industrial businesses.”

Staff feels it’s important council stipulate publicly for developers not to expect any further encroachment of residential land uses within the north end industrial lands.

Related: Big plans never materialized

Mixing residential and industrial also raises the potential for complaints about permitted industrial land use nuisances.

Among the long list of previous complaints about the site from residents along Richter Street, Baillie Avenue, Vaughn Avenue and Gaston Avenue include storing pallets in alleys, commercial trucks blocking roads, transport trucks parking on streets for days on end, odours and visual pollution from waste and garbage bins leaking onto adjoining properties.

“The frequency/intensity of these complaints could potentially increase by locating residential units in close proximity to industrial uses,” according to the report.

On the positive side, the 148 rental units represents a 2.8 per cent increase in the rental supply across the Kelowna metropolitan area. Currently, Kelowna has 2,937 rental units either recently occupied, under construction, approved or in the approval process, a 22 per cent expansion of the primary rental housing pool.

Beyond rental housing, other development benefits cited in the report include the building of a strong urban edge and street wall at the Clement and Richter intersection and the land use conflict mitigated by parking provided along the northern portion of the property as a transition mechanism between proposed residential and industrial land use on the site.

Currently, the site is bounded by BC Tree Fruits, Sun-Rype and Sandhill Wines to the north, vacant industrial zoned lot to the east, single family residential to the south and the new Kelowna RCMP detachment to the west.

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